Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, January 5, 112 days before the NFL draft.
—NFL free agency starts 63
—NFL draft 112
—First Sunday of 2017 season 248
Both stay, one stays, or both go—What happens at WR?
Besides the Kirk Cousins contract saga, which we’ll address here at some point soon, the free agency talk of the town centers on the Redskins’ two veteran wide receivers. Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson are both going to be free agents on March 9. They have other things in common as they both turned 30 last year and they both made big contributions to the offense with each of them gaining over 1,000 yards receiving in 2016.
Will the Redskins keep both of them? One of them? Neither of them? Let’s break out the $100 in imaginary casino chips and bet them on the chances of each of the possible scenarios coming to pass.
Both: $10 The Redskins have the cap space to pull this off. They will have around $60 million to work with, possibly more if they move on from some veterans and create more space. But each player is going to command a contract with an average annual value of at least $8-$10 million, maybe more. It simply would be bad cap management to invest some $16-$20 million a year in multiyear deals for two receivers who are over 30 years old.
Jackson only: $15 He can do things that nobody else can do. The combination of Jackson’s speed and uncanny ball-tracking ability (see the long catch in Philadelphia) makes him a unique talent. But it is starting to look like he has worn out his welcome due to his inconsistency on the field and some of his actions (and non-actions) outside the white lines. In short, he does not fit Scot McCloughan’s definition of a “football player”. There is a chance they might make a push for him if Garçon leaves and Jackson is still unsigned but it’s unlikely he’s in a Redskins uniform in 2017.
Garçon only: $40 On the other hand, Garçon was cited as an example of a “football player” by McCloughan in an interview last year. He was the model of consistency in 2016, compiling his 1,041 receiving yards while gaining under 50 yards receiving in a game just three times and going over 100 once. Garçon also is the model teammate, working hard and rarely missing practice. Despite all of that, there is a limit to how much the Redskins will pay him; there are other options to find a receiver who averages five catches per game. And while Garçon has talked of wanted to stay in the area, this is his last shot at a big contract and he may well choose to give a very small hometown discount if any at all.
Neither: $35 I might be overplaying this a bit, having it just behind keeping Garçon only as an option. But the early chatter is that it is a real possibility. The interest in bringing back Jackson is limited and Garçon could easily be lured away. There are reports that the Redskins could be interested in Kenny Britt, who also posted 1,000 receiving yards this year and he was handicapped by playing in the Rams’ “junior high” offense. They could go with Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder as the two primary receivers and get a lower-priced free agent to work the slot. It might be a rough transition but it may be the route they will have to take.
Tandler on Twitter
#Redskins started 18 drives after takeaways but only 1 of them started in the red zone. Opponents had 13 drives after TO’s 4 started in RZ— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) January 4, 2017
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